Trader Joe’s workers in Massachusetts are forming their own union in order to combat what they describe as a toxic work culture cultivated by the supposedly progressive company.
Workers at a Trader Joe’s location in Hadley, Massachusetts, sent a letterDan Bane, CEO, announced Saturday that they will unionize and asked for the company not to interfere with the union drive. They say that, despite the company’s image as an employee-friendly workplace, workers have been facing deteriorating working conditions and decreasing benefits over the past years.
“Two years ago, in March of 2020, you mailed a letter to our homes. In this letter, you argued against unionization, asserting that unions were attempting to “drive discontent,” the workers wrote. “Since that letter arrived in our mailboxes, Trader Joe’s has continued to slash our benefits as our wages stagnate and our safety concerns go unaddressed. We’ve come to the conclusion that, in fact, a union is the only way to protect and improve our pay and benefits.”
The workers say that they’re organizing “[Amazon Labor Union] style,” meaning that they’re aiming to form their own independent union without support from a major labor group to take on the multi-billion dollar company. Labor experts believe that Amazon Labor Union’s independence may have been compromised. crucial to its successIn unionizing an Amazon warehouse New York.
Interviews with More Perfect UnionThe workers described a work environment that increasingly treats workers as disposable.
“The customers really, really have this idea that Trader Joe’s is this amazing place to work and they take such good care of us because that used to be true,” Sarah Yosef, who has worked for Trader Joe’s for over 18 years, told More Perfect Union. “I think everything that we’re asking for is what Trader Joe’s is pretending to give us.”
Indeed, Trader Joe’s has projected an image of itself as a liberalCompany that treats its workers well. But workers sayThis image is just a facade. After employee Maeg Yosef came back from pandemic leave, “it felt like they weren’t even pretending to care anymore,” they told More Perfect Union.
Woody Hoagland from Massachusetts claimed that he had had his health benefits cut. he got cancer. “Survived cancer in 2019 and part of that journey was having to fight for my health care from the company,” Hoagland said. “I know that they didn’t want to see me dead from cancer, but they also didn’t want to pay any more than they had to. And as soon as they were able to remove me from their health insurance they did.”
Workers say that they’re aiming to form a more inclusive workplace in which they feel like they have a say in safety concerns and wages.
If they succeed, they will be successful. the first unionized Trader Joe’s in the U.S. But they aren’t the first Trader Joe’s workers to try to unionize. As the pandemic arose in 2020, a group of workers known as the Trader Joe’s Union Coalition circulated a petitionAsk the company to keep its hazard pay policy after it cutAfter just a few short months, the nationwide hazard pay is available.
The workers had hoped to unionize their shops, but the company refused to allow it. In March of last year, Bane sent a letter to all employees saying that unionization is “a distraction.” The company also hiredAnti-union lawyers from notorious union-busting firm Littler Mendelsonin an effort to stop the union effort.
After the company settledOne unfair labor practice is charged fired several workersOver 2020 and 2021, it appeared that the union drives had stopped; the last time that they were successful was in 2021. Trader Joe’s Union Coalition tweetedIt was July last year.